Thursday, 14 December 2017 00:45

UCLA Hires Paul Rhoads as Defensive Backs Coach

UCLA Hires Paul Rhoads as Defensive Backs Coach

LOS ANGELES- UCLA Head Football Coach Chip Kelly announced today the hiring of Paul Rhoads as the team's defensive backs coach.

A veteran of 10 bowl games, Rhoads has mentored six defensive backs who have been selected in the NFL Draft, highlighted by seven-time Pro Bowl selection and 2009 AFC Defensive Player of the Year Darrelle Revis.

Rhoads most recently served as the interim head coach at Arkansas following the November dismissal of Bret Bielema. Rhoads was in his first season as the Razorbacks' defensive coordinator after leading their defensive backs unit the year prior.

Prior to joining Bielema's staff on February 24, 2016, Rhoads spent 16 years as either a head coach or defensive coordinator at Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Auburn, including the previous seven seasons (2009-15) as Iowa State's head coach.

In 2016, Arkansas' secondary forced 10 interceptions, returning four of those for touchdowns. The four interceptions returned for scores were the program's most in one season since at least 1985, tying for fourth-most in the nation and second-most in the SEC. Three different Arkansas defensive backs recorded two interceptions apiece, including sophomore cornerback Ryan Pulley, who added 13 pass breakups to rank second in the SEC and tie for 12th nationally. In addition, senior cornerback Jared Collins tied for third in the SEC and 18th nationally with 12 pass breakups. Arkansas was one of just two schools in the conference with two players to rank in the top five of that category.

A native of Ankeny, Iowa, Rhoads guided the Cyclones to three bowl game appearances. He recorded four wins over ranked opponents, including three on the road – half of the school's all-time road victories over ranked teams.

Taking over a program that had gone a combined 8-27 the previous three seasons, Rhoads' success in his first season at Iowa State was underscored by his place as the first Cyclone football coach to win seven games in his initial campaign since 1907 and the first ISU coach since 1931 to post a winning record in his initial season. His first season as head coach was highlighted by the program's first win at Nebraska in 32 years and a victory over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

In addition, the Cyclones registered six Big 12 road victories under Rhoads. Prior to his arrival, the Cyclones had won just nine conference road games in the previous 17 seasons. Under Rhoads' direction, four linebackers garnered All-Big 12 first team honors, while two also received All-America accolades.

Rhoads spent the 2008 season as the defensive coordinator at Auburn under former head coach Tommy Tuberville, where his defense ranked 18th nationally in scoring, allowing 18.0 points per game and 178.8 yards passing to rank 22nd nationally.

From 2000-07, Rhoads served as defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh. Five of his defenses ranked in the nation's top 30 for scoring and three in the NCAA's top 12 for fewest yards allowed. Additionally, 14 of his Panther defenders earned All-Big East first team acclaim.

In 2006, The Sporting News named him the Big East's best defensive coordinator. His 2004 defense ranked ninth nationally with 17 interceptions and four defensive touchdowns, helping propel the Panthers to a Big East Conference championship and an appearance in the 2005 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Under Rhoads' guidance at Pittsburgh, Revis was a two-time All-American, two-time All-Big East selection and a 2006 Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist. Bernard "Josh" Lay (2006, New Orleans Saints), Shawntae Spencer (2004, San Francisco 49ers), Torrie Cox (2003, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Ramon Walker (2002, Houston Texans) joined Revis as Panthers chosen in the NFL Draft during Rhoads' tenure.

During Rhoads' first stint at Iowa State (1995-1999), he served as the secondary coach his last four years after coaching the inside linebackers in 1995. He also assisted with the Cyclones' special teams.

Prior to Iowa State, Rhoads spent three years at Pacific (1992-94). In his first three seasons, he served as the defensive backs coach. The Tigers' defense ranked 20th nationally, allowing just 152 yards passing per game in 1993. In his final season, Rhoads coordinated the Tigers' pass defense.

Rhoads began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State (1991) and Utah State (1989-90), working with the secondary at both schools.

A three-year letter winner as a defensive back at Missouri Western, the 50-year-old Rhoads earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1989. He and his wife Vickie have two sons, Jake and Wyatt.

Last modified on Thursday, 14 December 2017 00:50
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